Late winter in this part of Montana can be gray. And once we move from constant snow to snow with mud, that grayness feels even more difficult to endure. Which is why the Historical Village volunteers had the great idea to have a late winter community event that promises to rock your socks and raise some funds for maintaining the Village.
On March 3rd, The Wardens play at the Trego Hall starting at 4pm. An easy time of day to drive out and catch this great band from Canmore, Canada. Up in those parts, a ranger is called a warden. These three musicians/wardens have worked in the back country around Banff for a lot of years so know mountains and horses as well as music. Admission for the concert is $8/per with tickets on sale at the door.
We figured once folks come out to Trego to hear good music, they might just want to stay and enjoy themselves a bit longer. There will be a potluck after the concert (starting around 5:30) and then a music jam. Ray and Shirley Jacobs met The Wardens recently and encouraged us to bring them to Eureka. They will be there. Hope you are too. If you want a preview of The Wardens, check out their website here.
So mark March 3rd on your calendar and come out for a good time. Bring a dish to pass if you want to stay for the potluck, and if you play music then please bring your instrument along. Otherwise come to listen and enjoy this late winter treat. Oh, and there will be beautiful handmade quilts for sale as well.
The holidays are happening. Snow is starting to pile up. Sidewalks are slippery. Bazaar sales at the Historical Village have gone well although of course we hope there will be last minute shoppers on December 22nd. Last Friday the quilters had their annual party – a potluck and then gift exchange. The delicious food put everyone in a sleepy mood but we continued sewing until our usual closing time. Lynda and Sally even set up a second quilt that we will tie next week, a colorful cotton one Cathryn pieced. Although I am often content to sit and talk rather than sew, the pace is such that I feel compelled to be as productive as the others (no easy task with this group of women).
As usual we are sewing, talking with any visitors who stop by to drop off something or to buy some lovely handmade item, and discussing how to raise money to cover the Village’s costs, and how to get all the things done from archiving to replacing broken pieces of the boardwalk. It often feels there isn’t enough time for all we need to accomplish but somehow we still manage to listen to stories about families and friends, laugh at Bev’s jokes and grumble if the needle is not going through as easily as we might like.
Amidst the talk, different quilters talk about other volunteer work they are doing – helping with the Winter Bird Count, the library, the thrift store, the church. Its amazing how these individuals find time to do all this to make our community as good as possible. There might be a concern when we don’t see younger people stepping up to help with these projects and really in this case, younger is broad. We not only think about high school students but adults in their twenties to fifties. Of course there are volunteers but there never seems to be quite enough. So we hope some folks out there will put volunteering down as a New Year’s resolution. Once a week for a few hours surely would mean a lot.
Yes, in only a few days the annual Eureka Montana Quilt Show will be happening. My suggestion is you come early like 7:00am to help hang the quilts and enjoy the cool morning of dew and colors. The town is transformed as hundreds of quilts are slowly hung from Memorial Park down the main street and throughout the Historical Village. Its truly magical as it happens and you can be part of that magic. Afterwards, volunteers usually stop at Cafe Jax or Four Corners Restaurant for breakfast and then go back out to enjoy the day. Quilts galore (previous years had over six hundred!), vendors, shady spots to sit and soak up the day quickly fill the hours til 4:00pm. And besides all the activity that goes along with this annual event, there is the Historical Village itself.
All the buildings in the Village will be open throughout the day of the Quilt Show. So take some time to amble through the museum and the old cabins. There will also be volunteer quilters at a table in front of the museum who sell raffle tickets. The winner will be selected at the county fair later in August. The prize is a lovely quilt hand stitched last winter. Needless to say, we will ship it to you wherever you live if you win. We like getting our quilts out into the world.
Eureka is a special place most of us enjoy calling home. It sparkles in the winter with snow and the summer is bustling with visitors walking on main street enjoying local businesses. Cyclists from all across America come through sometimes camping in Riverside Park, often stopping for a meal or a milkshake. But the first Saturday in August when the Quilt Show takes over the town is spectacular. Eureka is at its brightest! The colors compete with any rainbow. The variety of quilts is astonishing. And the crowds add to the festive sense. Whether you live in Lincoln County or elsewhere in the state or region, think about coming to Eureka on August 5 this year. You won’t regret it.
The lovely quilt with pale green and lilac florals is finally done and put away. Perhaps we will offer it for sale at the Eureka Montana Quilt Show in August. Or raffle it off next year. It is easy to imagine it gracing a bed in a guest room or given as a gift to newly weds. As always, when examining a quilt we take off the frame to ensure there aren’t mistakes, I marvel at the countless stitches, all that wonderful energy added to the quilt by the women who sewed on it over the months.
The quilt is in the cupboard now and the old school house is set up as part of the Historical Village museum again. I stopped by the other day as the museum is always the ideal place to buy postcards of the valley or handmade items. I was surprised that although it was during regular hours, the museum was closed. I heard later the volunteer in charge is having a tough time finding enough people to put in an afternoon every week. It doesn’t sound like much does it? The museum is open 1:00 – 5:00pm and with a bit of time to open and close all the buildings and such, perhaps four and a half hours. That is what someone would give if they volunteered to help out in the summer (and yes, you are allowed to take vacations): one afternoon a week for four and a half hours.
Before anyone starts to get too blustery about this – four and a half hours out of MY day?!?! – lets think about it. Last year the New York Times ran an article stating the average American spends five hours a day watching television and then there is the time (additional hours) spent on their tablets, smartphones and computers. This doesn’t include work time but the leisure time people spend absorbing media. Could that be the kicker? Perhaps people think leisure time should be…well….leisurely. It shouldn’t be volunteering. Perhaps volunteering seems too much like work. Fortunately as the bubble of Baby Boomers move into retirement age, there are more studies being done on volunteering and its benefits. Volunteering can keep you physically active, socially connected and mentally stimulated. So instead of sitting alone on the couch surfing the Net this summer, why not sign up to help at the Historical Village? Thanks.
Yes, I admit it. I tend to focus on the women quilters when writing this blog. They are such a remarkable group and I could listen to their stories, watch their meticulous sewing for hours and hours, never growing tired of it. I appreciate so much what they each give – Cathryn’s advice, Lynda’s organization, Joan’s stories, Bev’s energy. But there are men as well who help make the Historical Village what it is. Gary sets up the volunteers for the museum which means finding people to fill in slots every single day from late May until early September. Everyday from 1:00 – 5:00pm a volunteer needs to be at the Village to open the buildings, talk to visitors, tidy up the museum and Gary makes sure this happens. And then there is Darris who attends meetings and helps with organizing the historical facts. Who did what when and where was that old photograph taken? Darris always knows these sorts of things. Lewis and John help a lot with building maintenance and constructing things that are needed. They tend to be quieter. I must admit I don’t often hear their stories but they are always ready to lend a hand and a smile.
It seems as we start another winter season that it is only right to recognize these men who help keep the Village going. The women will quilt all winter on Fridays, plan rummage sales, discuss this and that, laugh at Mary Louise’s jokes or the antics of Joan’s cats. The men who are part of the Tobacco Valley Board of History are mightily appreciated though and deserve recognition. Thank you, gentlemen!